Lincoln Park Zoo's newest addition made its public debut Wednesday.
The baby western lowland gorilla, born on Oct. 11 to mother Bana, 17, and dad Kwan, a 23-year-old silverback, has yet to be sexed or named, but animal care staff have determined that the infant is ready to meet Chicagoans and other zoo guests.
On Wednesday, Bana and the baby returned to public view at the zoo's Regenstein Center for African Apes from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
“Bana has been nesting in a quiet corner of the enclosure where she can nurture her infant,” Curator of Primates Maureen Leahy said in a release from the zoo. “The baby is nursing regularly and demonstrating positive behaviors like reaching and gripping tightly.”
The first weeks of a newborn gorilla's life are critical, so Bana and her baby will be closely monitored by zookeepers and vets as they bond and establish routines, according to the zoo.
The birth is especially significant as western lowland gorillas' numbers continue to decline. The species is critically endangered, threatened by poaching and habitat loss in its native central Africa.